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How to Shop Around for a Delaware or Pennsylvania Mortgage

by Katina Geralis

When it comes to homebuyer mistakes in Delaware and Pennsylvania, perhaps the biggest one is failing to shop for a mortgage. Many homebuyers simply take the first mortgage they are offered without knowing they could have secured a better loan, with lower fees and a lower rate. 

As you shop for a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania this summer, make sure you then also take the time to shop around for a mortgage. Use the following tips to ensure you're getting the best possible deal and loan for your dream home:

First, research your budget
Use a mortgage calculator to determine how much you can afford in a DE or PA home. Include all of your monthly expenses, including property taxes, monthly maintenance and utilities, insurance and any private mortgage insurance (PMI) that you may acquire. Once you've determined your budget, you can then proceed with shopping for the best rate.

Research the different types of mortgages
It's important that Delaware and Pennsylvania homebuyers know the different types of mortgages— from fixed rate mortgages to adjustable rate to those that allow payment adjustments. Each loan type will come with its own set of fees, terms, requirements and limitations. For instance, you may receive a penalty for paying off your mortgage early with some loans. Take the time to find which loan type is best for you.

Compare loans among lenders
On one specific day, gather quotes from several lenders and even brokers. Lenders can give out different rates and fees to consumers on the same day for the same loan, so it's important to shop around. Once you have a list of rates from many lenders, then you can go about finding which is the best deal.

Ask for help
If finding lenders and brokers in your area is stressful for you, always ask for help! As your local real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team can provide suggestions for experts in the mortgage space that can help you find the best rate for your new home loan. A recommendation can oftentimes put you at ease, knowing that you are working with a trusted pro.

Shopping around for a mortgage in Delaware and Pennsylvania can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan, so don't leave it out of the mix! Our team is happy to help walk you through the process of buying a home and answer any questions to calm your concerns. Just give us a call!

We also offer a FREE Home Buyer e-Guide and FREE First Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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Homebuyers are out in droves as the busy spring real estate season gets underway in Delaware and Pennsylvania. If you've already taken the steps to list your property in DE or PA or are planning to soon, the next step involves highlighting your home's key features that buyers will love.

The following elements of your home may seem like nothing to you, but to buyers, they could be just what they are looking for— Don't be afraid to point them out!

Location
You've heard the phrase "location, location, location" before and it never holds more true than when assessing your home's value. Is your home located near restaurants, shopping and entertainment? Do you have an excellent commute time from your neighborhood? Buyers will want to know! And as your real estate experts in Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Kat Geralis Home Team can help identify such selling points this year!

Storage
Many Delaware and Pennsylvania buyers are diving into the real estate market simply because their current home lacks storage; this is also one of the reasons current renters will make the transition to homeownership over the next few months. A large garage, walk-in closet or pantry just might spark the interest of a buyer whose sole purpose for moving is to gain more space.

Layout
While Millennials are expected to make a big impact on the real estate market this spring, another group ready to make a move is seniors. Those whose children are all grown and out of the house will be looking to downsize and features like a ranch-style layout, zero exterior steps and minimal upkeep will be high on their list.

We have helped many Delaware and Pennsylvania home sellers find the right buyer and we'd love to help you do the same! Give us a call today for more information on next steps toward listing your Delaware or Pennsylvania home!

We also offer a FREE Home Seller e-Guide

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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You've made a wish list of all of the features you want in a potential Delaware or Pennsylvania home and now it's time for the house hunt to begin. However, after viewing a few properties, you may notice that not every one of your must-haves can be fulfilled in a single home in your price range.

What now? Compromise. While it is not always a word DE and PA homebuyers like to hear, there are worthwhile trade-offs you will want to consider as you view available properties this spring.

Square footage
A potential home in Delaware or Pennsylvania could have everything you're looking for— an updated kitchen, the right school district, proximity to family and friends—but that could also mean giving up a finished basement or guest bedroom. A compromise on square footage should only be entertained if you don't anticipate your space needs growing in the near future, otherwise you could find yourself needing to move all too soon.

Location
If a compromise on square footage is not in the cards for you, many buyers find they are willing to budge on location. Oftentimes, a home within walking distance to entertainment, shops and restaurants is smaller than you would like— but moving a bit farther away could open you up to more homes that meet the criteria on your wish list.

Backyard
Suppose a home fits the bill with the right amount of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as your budget, but you step outside to find a smaller yard. A compromise on yard size may be worthwhile if the home's interior succeeds in providing the space you are looking for this spring. 

The Kat Geralis Home Team has decades of experience in helping Delaware and Pennsylvania homebuyers find their dream homes, identifying what is important to them in terms of features, location, and home size. Give us a call today for more information about available homes in your desired area!

We also offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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Have you sat down and made a list of your new year's resolutions yet? It's always a fun exercise to take stock of your goals for the year ahead and make a plan on how to achieve them. For many in Delaware and Pennsylvania, you might find that they are personal or health related, but one of them might be buying a home!

There are dozens of steps to take to successfully become a homeowner in 2019 and as your local Delaware and Pennsylvania real estate experts, the Kat Geralis Home Team is happy to help you make that a reality! Below are 5 new year's resolutions to make in order to buy a home in the new year:

Eliminate indulgences
It might not be your favorite path to homeownership, but cutting indulgences can be a quick and simple way to save for a down payment. For instance, could you stand to cut cable and instead use Netflix? Or on the same note, is there a streaming service you could cancel? You might want to cut dining out and your morning coffee runs, instead packing your lunch and brewing coffee at home. These little indulgences can mean big savings if they're avoided!

Start a home savings account
You can't save specifically for your home if you don't have anywhere for it to go! Open a savings account specifically for your new home. Get into the habit of making weekly or monthly deposits—whatever you can afford—and watch your down payment grow!

Do a mortgage test run
The only way to truly know if you can swing being a homeowner in Delaware and Pennsylvania, is to do a test run. Try saving like a homeowner—meaning you set aside your monthly housing expenses and an amount for your emergency fund—and see if you can live with your new budget. 10% of your mortgage payment is a good rule of thumb to account for maintenance fees, so start there.

Pay all bills on time
There is nothing that can raise a red flag quicker to a lender than unpaid bills. If you intend to get approved for a mortgage in 2019, it is best to make sure you pay all of your bills on time. Not only does this keep your credit score high, but it shows lenders you are capable of managing a monthly payment.

Visit open houses
This may seem counterintuitive if you're not yet ready to buy a home in Delaware and Pennsylvania, but attending open houses allows you to see what properties are available in your price range. This gives you a more realistic approach to the market and could even motivate you to save more!

Ready to make your dream of owning a home a reality this year? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today! We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
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Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

5 Delaware and Pennsylvania Real Estate Reality TV Myths

by Katina Geralis

Now that it's winter in Delaware and Pennsylvania, we're all staying indoors a little more and perhaps you're even watching a few real estate reality TV shows— we've all seen a few by now! As these shows grow in popularity, it's important to keep in mind that not everything you see on your screen is actually reality. Much of what takes place is staged and filmed in a much shorter timeline and as your local real estate experts in DE and PA, we've included a much needed reality check for you below!

Myth: Buyers only choose from 3 homes
In nearly every reality TV show based on homebuyers, there are typically three homes toured before the buyer makes a decision and chooses one. While there may be a small percentage of buyers that truly buy one of the first few homes they see in Delaware and Pennsylvania, remember that the average homebuyers tours at least 10 homes during their search, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Myth: The show takes place in real time
It may seem unrealistic that the homebuyers can go through the entire buying process, from search to closing, within a 30-minute time slot and that's because, it is. Real estate reality shows often follow buyers who are farther along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy, in an attempt to speed up the process for viewers.

Myth: These homes are still for sale
As mentioned above, real estate reality shows are often filmed months in advance of their air date. So  if you've spotted a home that you love on your favorite show, keep in mind that unfortunately many of the homes shown are already sold and off the market. The properties are staged for TV for the "home search" phase.

Myth: Your home will sell at the open house
Many times homeowners on TV will hold an open house and then choose from the dozens of offers that result from the traffic. Please remember that just as many homes sell from regular showings and if you hold one, your property may not hook a buyer from the first open house. This is just a small piece of the puzzle when marketing Delaware and Pennsylvania homes.

Myth: Removing a wall is easy
Every homeowner today wants an open concept floor plan and thus, real estate reality shows typically show demo teams knocking down walls to make it happen. In reality, removing walls may not always been in your budget or even possible for your specific home. If the wall is load-bearing, there is much more structural work that comes into play and that can be more costly than you think!

Don't get too caught up in real estate reality TV myths if you're a new homebuyer in Delaware or Pennsylvania! It's always wise to consult the pros first! Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today for more information about next steps in the buying process or for a list of available homes.

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

How to Buy a Delaware or Pennsylvania Home Before the Holidays

by Katina Geralis

Tis the season for holiday chaos in Delaware and Pennsylvania! Your schedule is likely full of festive gatherings, tree trimming, and traveling to visit with friends and family near and far. Right now, buying a new home and settling in before the new year may seem like a challenge, but don't be so quick to write it off! Buying a new home during this busy time of year can be done and you just need an expert real estate agent and a handful of helpful tips to get the job done!

Below are four tips to help you buy a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania before the holidays:

​Get pre-approved
Don't get off on the wrong foot by touring homes that are outside of your budget. Instead, take the time to get pre-approved with a mortgage lender! This way, you'll know exactly how much home you can afford, as well as whether to not you even qualify to buy a home.

Team up with an expert agent
Your real estate agent should both know the DE and PA market well, as well as have a large network of experts at their disposal. For instance, when you have a specific timeline in mind to buy a home—like during the holidays—your agent should know exactly which local professionals to bring in to complete the transaction, from lenders to inspectors.

Get documents in order
You can never be too organized as a Delaware or Pennsylvania homebuyer. Put together all of the documents you will need to buy a home— tax returns from the past two years, W2's or pay stubs, as well as two months worth of bank statements from all accounts. Keep them in a separate folder just for your purchase as this will speed up the process when the documents are needed!

Stay on track
If you're under contract to buy a home, you will want to stay on top of everyone to keep the transaction moving. When you work with the right real estate agent, they will also play an important role in this. Considering all of the parties involved in the transaction, it may be many days before someone gets the document they need or answers a certain question. If you haven't heard back in a timely manner, always check in with that person to stay on track!

2018 may almost be over, but don't let that stop you from buying a new home in Delaware or Pennsylvania! Give us a call today for a list of available properties as well as next steps for home buying or selling your current home!

We even offer FREE First-Time Homebuyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

 

Did you know selling your Delaware or Pennsylvania home in the fall and winter can be just as lucrative as selling during the spring and summer? It's true! However, that is if your property is well prepared for the market! There are many ways to improve your Delaware or Pennsylvania home before listing it for sale, including removing the following five items that have been known to turn buyers away!

Bugs
Even if you have a few ladybugs taking up residence in your home's windowsills, it's best to remove them before buyers arrive. This is one of the easiest turn-offs for DE or PA buyers as it can give the impression that your home is not clean or well cared for.

Decor Collections
No matter if it's stamps or holiday figurines, you'll want to keep your collectibles stored away during the home sale process. Displaying any type of collection can give off a cluttered vibe to buyers and turn them away from your property— even if they're just pet accessories! 

Odors
One of the quickest ways to send buyers back out the door is by having odors present in your home. Smells can make or break a sale for a buyer, so be mindful of what you're cooking before a showing and be aware of any pet odors that need addressed. Strong scented candles can be a no-go for buyers also as not everyone enjoys the same aromas in their home.

Pet Damage
Remember that not everyone loves pets the way you might. Are your floors scratched from your pet's claws? Are there stains from your pets on the carpet? Consider having your floors refinished or your carpets professionally cleaned prior to buyers arriving at your door. 

Personal Photos
Did you know that de-personalizing your Delaware or Pennsylvania property prior to selling can boost your chances of hooking a buyer? Consider removing all of your personal photos before a showing or open house as this will allow buyers to envision themselves in the home in the future instead of you and your family. 

As your local real estate experts, you can count on the Kat Geralis Home Team to set you up for home seller success! Contact us for more information on your home value, as well as how to prepare your property for the market

We even offer a FREE Home Seller E-Guide!

Give us a call today!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

When you've decided to sell your home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you'll want to make sure buyers are intrigued from the start. That means you've found the best possible listing pricing, have made any necessary repairs, and of course, staged the home in a way that buyers can envision living there. But before you decide everything is complete and sit back to welcome the offers that are sure to come your way, you'll want to take a good look at your kitchen.

It is no secret that kitchens sell homes in Delaware and Pennsylvania and there are a few things that may be found inside yours that can send a buyer running the other way. Take a look at the following to make sure your kitchen is ready for the market:

Pet Bowls
Remember, you love your pet, but not all buyers are pet people. Consider moving your pet food bowls out of sight when buyers arrive for a showing to ensure you don't turn them away, even if they otherwise love the property.

Trash Cans
If your trash cans are out in plain sight in your Delaware or Pennsylvania kitchen, clean the area as thoroughly as possible. This means the can itself looks clean, the bag is empty to avoid any odor, and the space around it is free of recycling items or other trash.

Cluttered Counters
You want to make your kitchen feel as open and spacious as possible, so start by removing all of your small appliances and other knick knacks from the countertops. Clean counters will help buyers note how much space they will have to work with in this area.

Dishes
Before buyers arrive to tour your Delaware or Pennsylvania home, be sure that the sink is clean and empty. Someone may love your home, but when they come across dirty dishes in the sink, they could get the impression that other parts of the home have been neglected.

Pests
Ants, flies, and even mice are not an uncommon homeowner problem, but when you become a home seller, it's important to remove any signs of household pests. This includes disposing of traps and bugs before buyers get to your front door.

Curious if your Delaware or Pennsylvania home is prepared for today's real estate market? Want to know what your home might be worth? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook


Summer is one of the best times to tackle that long homeowner to-do list! Whether it's replacing your front door, installing new light fixtures and landscaping, or even as big as renovating an entire bathroom, there are certain projects that can give your home a much needed boost in terms of looks and value! But don't be too quick with the hammer— instead take a look at our list of Delaware and Pennsylvania home projects that will pay you back when the time comes to sell.

According to real estate news outlet Keeping Current Matters, the following four projects will yield you the highest return on your investment:

Bathroom Remodel
You may have heard that kitchens and bathrooms help sell homes and it's true! A minor bathroom remodel can bring homeowners the highest return on investment—102 percent—when they replace the tub and tile, and add a new toilet, sink, vanity, and other bathroom fixtures.

Curb Appeal
This is what may grab a buyer's attention, so don't write off curb appeal as an unimportant home improvement project this summer! Adding landscaping, including trees, shrubs, and other flowers, creating walkways and accessorizing with planters can yield homeowners as much as 100 percent of their investment at resale.

​Kitchen Remodel
Just like we said above, a kitchen remodel can do wonders in the eyes of a buyer! This home improvement project has the third highest ROI for homeowners, likely allowing them to recoup 98.5 percent of the investment! This remodel includes upgrades like new countertops, flooring, cabinets, and lighting. 

Exterior Work
The exterior of your Delaware or Pennsylvania home is just as important as the interior! In fact, adding new siding, front door, or light fixtures outside can yield homeowners as much as 95.5 percent of their investment— coming in at the #4 top home project in terms of return!

Ready to sell your Delaware or Pennsylvania home? Curious what will help boost your home's value and help you find a buyer in no time? Give the Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

You can even download our FREE Home Seller e-Guide!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

Home Staging vs. Hiding in Delaware and Pennsylvania Homes

by Katina Geralis

When you arrive to tour a home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, it can be easy to get distracted by home features like light fixtures, paint color, number of bedrooms, and the outdoor space— especially if you're a first-time homebuyer! These are indeed important aspects of a property to take notice of, but you will also need to keep your eyes out for minor—or major—flaws that could be hidden with simple home staging.

In some cases, Delaware or Pennsylvania home sellers will try to cover up issues with home staging and as your local real estate experts, we are here to help you uncover them!

Listing Phrases
Before you even arrive at home in Delaware or Pennsylvania, you can get an idea of what might be waiting for you simply by the phrases used in the listing description. Words like "cozy" and "quaint" are often euphemisms for small homes. Listings can also state that they are ready for your touch or a "fixer upper," which typically means the property needs work.

Painted Floors
Paint can cover up many problems in a home— so don't always assume it is for decorative purposes when house hunting! If you happen to pull up a corner of carpeting in a DE or PA home and notice paint covering sections or all of the floor, it may be to cover up pet damage or water spots. 

Rugs
Typically used to warm up a home or add a touch of color to a room, rugs and runners can also be used to cover warped floor boards and water damage. Walk over the rugs several times and take note of how the floor feels— does it creak, crack, or feel unstable? If so, it could be worth taking a close look into before buying the home.

Furniture Placement
If the placement of furniture in a home feels off, it could be because the homeowner is hiding something underneath the furniture or around it. For instance, are there frames hung in an odd formation or spot? They could be covering water spots or cracks. Is there a large couch in the center of the room? It could be covering imperfections in the floor or pet damage.

Ready to get started on your Delaware or Pennsylvania home search? Give the ​Kat Geralis Home Team a call today!

We even offer FREE First-Time Home Buyer Seminars!

Katina Geralis
DE and PA Real Estate Expert
eXp Realty

Homes for Sale
Visit My Website
Contact Me
Find me on Facebook

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